The London School of Economics and Political Science where my think-tank POLIS is based is an elite global educational institution. We are part of the Media and Communications Department but the word ‘journalism’ has never featured in any of its courses – until today. This is the educational equivalent of a small
earthquake. And I mean, small. The LSE academic committee that met in a vast seminar room off an oak-pannelled corridor took just five minutes to approve a new course option called Global Journalism. It will take up about a week’s worth of our students busy academic year. But the significance is that for the first time the word ‘journalism’ is in a course title. Of course, that’s the whole point of POLIS. The LSE recognises that the news media is a vital part of the way the world functions. The way we work, play and go to war now increasingly depends on the information flows that are mediated by journalists. Previously, academics were sniffy about journalism, denigrating it as ‘media studies’. It was seen as something that happens rather than something worth studying in the kind of very serious, analytical way that things are examined at the LSE.
But now there’s going to be a lot more journalism research and teaching here. In July we begin our first POLIS Summer School on International Journalism and eventually we will have POLIS graduate courses here at the LSE and at our partner University, the London College of Communication.